Kistler Providing solutions for complexities in injection moulding
Measurement technology specialist Kistler develops sensors and systems to measure pressure, force, acceleration and torque. Its latest development is the Como-Neo Version 2.1 process monitoring and control system that optimises multi-component and RTM processes in injection moulding.
Como-Neo was unveiled two years ago and has since then benefitted injection moulders with convenient solutions for monitoring and optimising their processes. With cavity pressure measurement as the basis, the system makes process optimisation more efficient over the long term – and it also brings substantial reductions in scrap rates, according to Kistler. Intelligent tools such as online quality prediction and an integrated assistant help Como-Neo provide quality assurance support for users.
Today, processors are increasingly confronted with new and complex challenges. Requirements are becoming stricter as an increasing number of functions are integrated into component design. All this results in multi-component systems with a highly complex process technology. One example is the RTM (Resin Transfer Moulding) method for industrial processing of long-fibre composites, which is becoming more widespread in lightweight construction design, especially in the automobile manufacturing and aviation technology sectors. Kistler has recently introduced software updates in Como-Neo Version 2.1, which can handle exactly such processes.
RTM process monitoring of up to four components
Automobile production is one of the industrial sectors where many plastic parts are actually combinations of two or more components. This creates the need to optimise and monitor mould and process technology. Evaluation of the characteristic cavity pressure curves poses a particular challenge: Two or more processes have to be captured and evaluated separately, depending on the component being produced. Now, with Como-Neo's new Version 2.1, it is possible to monitor up to four components with different mould technologies.
Furthermore, the RTM process presents a challenge of a different kind – the curing process for the resins used may proceed very quickly, but it can also go on for many hours, depending on the material, pressure and temperature. To overcome this problem, Kistler offers special RTM sensors, which are available in Como-Neo Version 2.1.
Other benfits of the new version include its intelligent functions that meet the requirements for digitisation of the injection moulding process. Parameters captured by sensors integrated in the mould deliver transparent, reproducible results and integral process analysis. All the collected data is stored centrally in the Como-Data-Center, where it is available for further analyses. The system also provides a central storage of mould configurations, which it can transmit to other plants. The Como-Data-Center allows for visualisation and comprehensive analysis of process data as well. The data can also be networked with higher-level systems such as a Manufacturing Execution System (MES), equipped with cutting-edge communication interfaces like the OPC-UA, Kistler notes.
The head of Kistler's Strategic Business Field Plastics, Dr Robert Vaculik, said that the software update for Como-Neo 2.1 is an efficient way to overcome the increased complexity of plastics processing, resulting in higher quality and lower costs.